Cure Leukaemia’s London 2 Paris: Inspiring the Revolution’ rider profiles

Cure Leukaemia’s London 2 Paris: Inspiring the Revolution’ rider profiles

We are proud to be sponsoring Cure Leukaemia’s epic 500km bike ride, ‘London 2 Paris: Inspiring the Revolution'.

Organised by ex-Crystal Palace captain, England international, current patron of the Cure Leukaemia charity and former leukaemia sufferer, Geoff Thomas, the ride will see 300 cyclists covering 80 miles a day as they make the 500km journey from London to Paris.

And you may just know some of the 300 cyclists taking part. If you would like to find out more about who they are, below we have profiled some of the famous faces.

Geoff Thomas

The inspiration for the event, Geoff Thomas is a former footballer who in 2003 was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia and was given just three months to live. Two years later, after treatment from Cure Leukaemia co-founder Professor Charlie Craddock, Thomas was told he was in remission. Now ten years on, he is organising this ride and has made it his revolution to raise £2 million in two years for the Cure Leukaemia charity.

During his playing days, Geoff Thomas spent time playing for Crewe Alexandra, Wolves, Nottingham Forest and most famously Crystal Palace, with whom he guided to the 1990 FA Cup Final where they faced Manchester United at Wembley. He was also capped by England nine times from 1991 to 1992.

John Salako

Geoff Thomas’ former Crystal Palace teammate, John Salako will also be taking on the epic 500km ride. Now a regular pundit for Sky Sports and the U16 team coach for Crystal Palace, Salako notably played as a midfielder from 1986 until 2005 for Crystal Palace, Coventry City and Charlton Athletic in the Premier League and Swansea City, Bolton Wanderers, Fulham, Reading and Brentford in the Football League. He also represented England five times at senior level in 1991.

Professor Charlie Craddock

The co-founder of the Cure Leukaemia charity, professor of Haemato-oncology at the University of Birmingham and Director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, Professor Charlie Craddock led the team that treated and saved the life of Geoff Thomas between 2003 and 2005.

Starting his career by studying medicine at Oxford University, Professor Craddock underwent postgraduate training in haematology at the Hammersmith Hospital, London, the Institute of Molecular Medicine at the at the University of Oxford and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre at the University of Washington, Seattle. A recent president of the British Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation and an active member of the NCRN Acute Myeloid Leukaemia Working Party, in 2014 he stated that the Centre for Clinical Haematology (CCH) at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital will have the cure for all forms of blood cancer within the next 30 years.

Ben Foster

A professional footballer who began his career with Stoke City, Ben Foster is an England international and the current goalkeeper for West Bromwich Albion.

During his professional footballer career which started in 2001, Ben Foster has also played for Manchester United, Watford and Birmingham City, and was selected in the final 23 for England’s 2014 World Cup squad – playing in the 2-2 draw with Ecuador in preparation for the tournament and keeping a clean sheet in England’s final group game against Costa Rica.

Currently recovering from a serious knee injury sustained against Stoke in March, Foster is using the 500km ride as rehabilitation for his damaged cruciate knee ligament and has been training with Olympic triathlon bronze medallist, Jonny Brownlee to prepare for the event.

Ian Wright MBE

Former football turned radio and television personality, Ian Wright will also be joining Geoff Thomas’ team for one stage of the 500km ride from London to Paris.

With a long and successful career as a footballer, Ian Wright notably played as a striker alongside Geoff Thomas at Crystal Palace and then went on to enjoy success with Arsenal, where he scored 128 goals and lifted the Premier League title, both major domestic trophies and the European Cup Winners Cup. In addition to this, he was capped 33 times for England and scored nine times for the team.

Shortly after his retirement from playing in 2000, Wright was awarded an MBE for his services to football.

Since retiring from football, Wright has had a successful media career, which has seen him present his own chat show, appear as a team captain on They Think It’s All Over, appear as a pundit on BBC Match of the Day and present several radio shows.

Wright is also a patron of the African-Caribbean Leukaemia Trust

George Lineker

Like Geoff, a survivor of leukaemia, George is the son of former England, Spurs and Barcelona striker and current BBC Match of the Day presenter, Gary Lineker.  

Diagnosed with leukaemia in the early 1990s, George has since been actively involved in raising funds to help others in fighting the disease.

He is the founder of Getsung, a free social music network which is a platform for musical talent to be displayed and discovered and create a digital fanbase open to millions of users.

Darren Purse

The current captain of Staines Town, Darren Purse has had a 20 year football career which has seen him play for teams including Leyton Orient, Cardiff City, Sheffield Wednesday, Oxford United and West Bromwich Albion. He is probably most famous though for his time spent at Birmingham City, and for converting two penalties during Birmingham’s 2001 Worthington Cup Final defeat against Liverpool at the Millennium Stadium.

Perhaps unbelievably, prior to training for ‘London 2 Paris: Inspiring the Revolution', Purse had never sat on a road bike and gave himself just 7 weeks to train for the ride.